The hosts find themselves on just a single point from six games following their promotion to the top flight, while their visitors have managed just one win of their own and come in on the back of a Europa Conference League battle with FC Koln.
Having finished second in France’s second tier last season, Ajaccio earned automatic promotion up to Ligue 1, but, in their bid to establish themselves in the top flight, they have had to endure a tough start with just one point on the board after six outings.
That came in the second round of fixtures, as Olivier Pantaloni‘s side played out a goalless stalemate with Lens after a narrow opening-day defeat to Lyon, but they have since gone on to suffer four further losses on the bounce, firstly falling against Rennes.
L’ours were then beaten 3-1 by Lille before travelling to Montpellier and leaving empty-handed, as Arnaud Nordin and Elye Wahi got on the scoresheet in a 2-0 home victory, forcing them to turn their focus to last weekend’s contest at home to Lorient in their bid to post a first victory.
Pantaloni’s men were not able to put a win on the board, or even halt their losing run, though, as their visitors took a lead in the 51st minute through Dango Ouattara and held out for a 1-0 away win, keeping Ajaccio at the foot of the division as a result.
Having now already suffered five league defeats this term, L’ours will be desperate to ensure they are not cut adrift early in the campaign and will look to put a crucial result on the board on Sunday against another of the division’s slow starters.
Nice make the trip having managed just five points from their six games thus far, following the change in management over the summer as Lucien Favre came in to replace the departing Christophe Galtier.
He set out to build on last season’s fifth-placed finish, but their start was relatively concerning as draws with Toulouse and Strasbourg were followed by defeats to Clermont and Marseille, although they were, at least, able to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv over two legs to reach the Europa Conference League group stage.
Les Aiglons did then put a first league win on the board at the fifth time of asking, eventually beating Lille 2-1 away from home, as Andy Delort instantly drew them level from the penalty spot after Jonathan David‘s 20th-minute opener and Nicolas Pepe converted their second spot kick of the game seven minutes later.
Hoping to build a run of results on the back of that impressive away triumph, Favre’s side took on Monaco in their most recent league outing but were unable to add to their points tally any further, eventually falling to a 1-0 defeat as Breel Embolo‘s goal made the difference before they kicked off the Europa Conference League group stage with a clash against FC Koln on Thursday.
Les Aiglons went behind in the first half on home turf, but they were able to force a 1-1 draw as Delort converted a second-half penalty, and, now turning their attention back to the domestic front, they will aim to kickstart a turnaround in their league form with an away win at the weekend.
Ajaccio will welcome attacker Romain Hamouma back to contention on Sunday, after he served a one-match ban last time out, and he could be in line to rejoin Jean Botue up front at the weekend, although Mounaim El Idrissy is also pushing to keep his place.
Further attacking threat will be provided by veteran winger Riad Nouri, who helped to fire them to promotion with nine goals and four assists in France’s second tier last season.
It is yet to be seen whether Ross Barkley will be ready to come in for Les Aiglons after his recent arrival from Chelsea, with Khephren Thuram and either Lemina or Alexis Beka Beka more likely to feature in midfield.
Arsenal loanee Nicolas Pepe came off the bench against Koln, and he should come back in to reform a dangerous front three with Gaetan Laborde and Andy Delort from the outset.
Ajaccio possible starting lineup:
Leroy; Youssouf, Gonzalez, Vidal, Ismael; Nouri, Mangani, Marchetti, Spadanuda; El Idrissy, Botue
Nice possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Todibo, Dante, Viti; Lotomba, Beka Beka, Thuram, Bard; Pepe, Delort, Laborde